San Diego History Center in Balboa Park: Open Friday, Saturday, Sunday 11 am – 4 pm Junípero Serra Museum: Check here for Fall hours

Lynne Ray Smith

This man has become an inspiration to me for so many reasons. During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, not only was physical health being threatened, but also mental health. Despite his own losses of family members (all within one year’s time), Lynne Ray stayed positive, and inspired all around him by doing what he could to uplift spirits, and encourage physical strength as a way of staying healthy as well. So many people spend their time doing activities that only benefit them and their loved ones, Lynne Ray spends his time working to the betterment of society and the community.

-Valerie Pallares

Lynne Ray was raised in San Diego, and has been coaching high school and youth football for the past 20 years. Lynne grew up in a rough area of San Diego, surrounded by gangs, violence, and drugs. Despite these circumstances, and a few wrong turns of his own, Lynne Ray’s resiliency carried him through school, and he graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor of Arts . Upon returning to San Diego, Lynne Ray has made it his life’s mission to empower young men through sports and keep them off the streets. He wants to be a positive role model, something he did not always have at their age. He has paid out of pocket for those less fortunate who could not afford day football camps or certain football equipment. Working with his players starting at 6:00 am every morning, and through sunsets every week, Lynne Ray coaches for very little pay, if any pay at all. The majority of his time coaching football and training has been on a volunteer basis, working a flexible day job in order to be accessible for the youth he trains. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, and the cancellation of sports throughout California, Lynne has still managed to inspire his young men to keep working on their strength and craft in a safe way.